Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/410

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for extraordinary taxation. These petitions never reached Charles, for the messengers' hearts failed them, and they turned back; but they show that the Junta utterly misunderstood its position and the character of the King. The last two clauses mark a change of spirit; they are directed against the nobles, some of whom had acquiesced in or favoured the insurrection. So soon as their usurped privileges were threatened, they began to rally round the throne. This tendency was furthered by a masterly stroke of policy. Urged by Adrian's despairing appeals for help, Charles nominated two Spanish grandees, the Constable and the Admiral of Castile, to share the regency: he bade them temporise and dissimulate, call Cortes in his name if advisable, but sanction no curtailment of the royal authority. The Constable raised an army in the north under the command of his son, the Count of Haro; and, aided by Zumel, who a year before had figured as a champion of popular rights, but had been brought over by a bribe, he recovered the city of Burgos, where jealousy of Toledo's leadership was strong. The Admiral joined Adrian at Rioseco, which forthwith became the rallying-place of the royalists, and began to treat with the Comuneros. These appointments silenced the complaints of the grandees as to the neglect of their order; nor could the popular party any longer complain that the land was left to the government of strangers.

Internal quarrels still further weakened the Comuneros. Flattered by the adhesion of Pedro Giron, a nobleman with a private grievance, they made him captain in place of Padilla (November). This was considered as a slight by the Toledans, and their contingent marched home. The loss of Padilla and his men was compensated by the arrival of Alonso de Acuna, Bishop of Zamora, one of the boldest and most skilful captains of the time. Giron marched against Rioseco; but, either betraying the cause he served or fooled by sham negotiations, he let his opportunity slip. His army melted away; the Count of Haro relieved Rioseco and recaptured Tordesillas together with the Que_en and some members of the Junta (December 5). The cry of treachery was raised, and Giron became a fugitive.

An amnesty and a few conciliatory measures would now have put an end to the movement; but the Regents were hindered by Charles' obstinacy. He not only sternly forbade further concession, but disavowed the moderate conditions under which Burgos had returned to its loyalty. He seemed utterly reckless, leaving his agents to fight alone, and even allowing their letters to remain unanswered. But the Regents had now the nobility on their side, for the Comuneros became daily more democratic and radical.

When the Junta reassembled at Valladolid, its disorganisation was more than ever apparent; its authority was lost; it had not even a definite rallying-cry. Now that his rival was gone, Padilla returned with his troops from Toledo. Though his unfitness for command was